Thursday, September 6, 2012

Executives Expect You To Be Prepared

Before engaging executives you need to do your homework and understand the key business issues impacting the prospective client and the initiatives that maybe underway to address the issues. The vast amount of information on the internet today has made this much easier than it use to be. Quick access to the financial/annual reports section pertaining to the mission statement, the president's letter, or other viable information areas regarding the strategic direction or key initiative will provide a lot of valuable information.

When executives allocate their time they expect you have done your homework, understand their business issues and have taken the steps to obtain this information if not publicly available. This could be from research or collection of data from other resources within the organization. Access to executives is a critical tipping point and cannot be taken lightly especially if you ever want another time block on that executives calendar. Respect his/her time and your own by do the fundamental preparation in advance. Not to mention, your performance during this meeting will set the perception of this executive and potentially his peers in regards to you.

Having a clear understanding the issues will allow you to identify how you can add value, better, faster, cheaper than what maybe in place today. You will need to have the "value" factor(s) and there potential impact before you walk into that office or dial the phone. Better yet, if your proposed solutions or services can align with planned or existing initiatives then the association with those projects can simplify the steps moving forward. Leveraging a hook into existing initiatives can significantly reduce the challenges at the "permission to engage" phases that are linked when identifying new or lower priority type initiatives.

The preparation process does not vary much depending on the role and responsibilities of the individual you are meeting but the relevant information, issues, challenges and initiatives will. Having a consistent process and record keeping practices for these meeting will help help augment the effectiveness of your future meetings.

You should read the executives bio and other relevant information to understand what is important to that individual and what they publicly state, stand behind, and want people to know they are associated with. This will help provide a reference material to build your positioning for the meeting based on what maybe relevant to the executive.

The more complete your picture the more effective you will be during the meeting.

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